“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” –Isaac Asimov
In a perfect world, every writer would be as talented and prolific as Isaac Asimov. In reality and contrary to widely-held opinion, it takes more than typing skills to write. Not very person is meant to be an author. Fortunately, even in a less than perfect world, many are.
Is your business searching for the right professional to deliver the right words? Sometimes a business needs a professional to write, other times it doesn’t. How do you know when to hire? How do you know who to hire? And how do you recognize a good writer?
Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Clearly, you do not want a bug when lightning is needed. Your first task is to recognize when you need a writer.
When to hire…
Is this you?
Your business is not writing. In fact, you find it tedious and troublesome to write. You would rather go to the dentist every day for a month than have to produce the kind of good, effective words your business needs.
…then you know the answer to when to hire a professional to write. It’s now.
Or maybe this is you?
Time is money. You can write. You know the topic. You don’t even mind writing and actually enjoy it. It is the hours that it takes that you mind. There are already too few hours in a day.
…then ask yourself what your time is worth and recognize that it is time to hire a professional to write for you.
Does this ring a bell?
Clarity and action are what you need writing to deliver for your business. You can write. You know the business inside and out. You know how to get the message out. But is it enough? Your business competes for your customer’s time and attention against your competitors and also against a vast media-saturated world.
…then it is time to hire a writer. Your stuff has to grab the reader’s attention, hold it, and get action.
Once you recognize that a writer’s skill is needed, it is time to consider what you expect from a writer.
Features of a Good Writer…
“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” –Nathaniel Hawthorne
Technical skills (spelling, punctuation, grammar) play a minor role in identifying a good writer and good writing. Pay more attention to the soft skills. These subtle indicators are infinitely more valuable to you.
“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” –Elmore Leonard
Does the writer’s writing engage you? Bored readers will click to another site in a nanosecond. Good writers know they must hook your readers from the first sentence and not allow distractions along the way.
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” –Nathaniel Hawthorne
Is there a logical flow to the concepts being discussed? Is there a story that can be followed? A good writer has an organized mind and is able to convey clarity through order and logical progression—all the while keeping readers engaged.
“I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” –James Michener
Is the prose succinct? Less is more. Good writing isn’t written, it’s rewritten; it’s edited. Good writers prune their prose to cut extra words and phrases. Good writers deliver one word when one word will do.
“Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.” –Sharon O’Brien
Does the writer have experience in the type of writing you need? Good writers are versatile. Yet writing effective marketing collateral is not the same as writing a product page. Experience counts. Good writers will deliver quality writing in many topics, formats, and genres and are not one-trick street performers.
Of course, WritingBytes is the obvious choice. We truly hope that you will consider our services and that we are a good fit for your needs.
However, this article is about helping YOU know when, how, and who to hire for your business writing projects. Who should you hire? The writer who can demonstrate ability to deliver in all of the ways we’ve discussed here. And who can deliver in one more critical area—as a person you connect with.
Your writer is going to interpret your message for the rest of the world. It is important that you be comfortable sharing that message with your writer and that your writer be able to understand and internalize your message.
And remember what Enrique Jardiel Poncela said so clearly, “When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.” When you need a writer, please hire a writer. Good writing is not a DIY project.
Your turn. What do you look for in a writer? What is your favorite quote about writing or communication?